If infrastructure and applications never changed, managing them would be easy. Unfortunately, the task of IT operations management is becoming simultaneously more critical and more difficult due to a whole list of factors: modernization, distributed cloud computing, staffing, cost pressures, digital transformation, security, remote work and tool sprawl, among others.
I'm hesitant to say that 2023 is going to be the most exciting year ever in IT operations -- I lived through Y2K. But the evidence suggests that this will be a year where IT operations teams get access to new tools and data sources that allow them to increase operational speed and do more with less.
The need to accelerate operations is nearly universal. With rising cloud-native application development and ever-increasing security needs, I expect layering and use of observability functions, tools and products to continue growing rapidly this year.
According to Katie Graybeal, vice president of market insights at TechTarget, "observability has been the top growth topic in systems management by quite a wide margin," meaning that a large percentage of organizations are researching and investing in observability tools.
Indeed, in the 2022 survey "Distributed Cloud Series: Observability Trends," conducted by TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group, 86% of organizations surveyed had plans to invest in additional observability tools and capabilities. This should be very good news for vendors like Splunk, New Relic, Datadog and others that are bringing improved observability products to market this year.
Concerns about scalability and data management are still prevalent, however. Look for more advanced integration of AI to address these issues. Specialists like Cribl are making strides in addressing the data management realities of scaling observability.
When it comes to cloud computing, there is only one area that underperforms expectations: cost. And with more workloads using cloud infrastructure and transferring what had been Capex to consumption-based Opex, the problem is only growing.
In Enterprise Strategy Group's "2023 Technology Spending Intentions Survey," less than half of those surveyed (43%) said that their organization's IaaS costs met or exceeded their expectations. The rest admitted that, at the macro level, cloud operational spending has insufficient financial controls and monitoring.
Organizations are responding: 34% are applying FinOps in widespread production, and many others currently have incomplete FinOps projects or are in the planning stages. Simply understanding what is driving costs and how to interpret that from a provider's bill is not for the faint of heart. This year, I expect FinOps to become a higher priority due to recession-driven increases in cost management pressures.
Sustainability and ESG
Sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns are absolutely impacting what IT teams are spending their cycles and budgets on in 2023.
Sustainability is also becoming a point of differentiation for hardware vendors like Cisco and Dell, who have been touting their improvements in hardware energy efficiency. Pure Storage guarantees that the company's latest storage offerings will achieve specific storage management to energy efficiency metrics, or they'll fix it for free. This is likely one of the first of many service-level agreements based on energy consumption and efficiency.
Internal ESG compliance tracking and external reporting will also be a hot spot this year. Over half (52%) of those surveyed in 2022 said their organizations intended to purchase commercial ESG compliance tools in the next two years.
IT asset management
2023 is shaping up to be a banner year for IT asset management tools and services, driven by an economic slowdown, IT service management advances, security concerns -- you have to know what you have in order to know what you need to protect -- and the financial side of software license management.
ESG and sustainability concerns -- especially end-stage asset lifecycle management -- are also contributing to the IT asset management renaissance. This year, in a recent TechTarget-commissioned study, 32% of midsize and large organizations reported intending to invest in IT asset management.